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Creative lab” for bringing science closer to society opens on CORDIS


More than 220 ideas for making European scientific endeavours and policies better known, understood and more attractive to the young and to the public at large are published today on the Web by the European Commission’s research and innovation information service CORDIS (

These ideas, initiated by citizens, public and private bodies, research and civil society organisations, as well as by the media, in 29 countries, represent the impressive results from a wide consultation (1 April – 2 June 2003) on the new “Science and Society” theme, introduced for the first time in Community research with the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) (2002-2006). The expressions of interest will help “flesh out” the topics for funding of projects from the 80 million euro allocated for science and society actions in FP6 for structuring the European Research Area. They shall also stimulate the integration of societal issues across FP6 as a whole. By publishing them, CORDIS provides a platform for all stakeholders in the science and society dialogue to make contacts and forge new trans-European collaborations on topics of mutual interest.

“This is just one, but a key step in the effort to close the real gap between science and society, which is revealed by Eurobarometer surveys in both the existing and the new EU Member States. It indicates a genuine public support for our strategy outlined in the Science and Society Action Plan and implemented through the Sixth Framework Programme”, said Dr Rainer Gerold, director for Science and Society in the European Commission’s Research Directorate-General.

The consultation has integrated consumer, youth and other citizens’ organisations, including TV companies, into the EU research programme for the first time. It demonstrates a clear commitment on behalf of the civil society to get involved in the formulation of research policies, including at EU level. While the area “public awareness” attracted the highest level of interest, all themes of science and society were addressed, including scientific advice, governance, ethics, public awareness, young people, and women and science. Clusters of related ideas have been identified in the Commission analysis, which is published on CORDIS alongside the expressions of interest.

Many ideas go beyond the issues that can be covered by the Sixth Framework Programme, but many others confirm that the general thrust of the planned FP6 science and society activities responds to the preoccupations of the interested community. The Commission is now revising the Science and Society work programme for 2004, taking account of the submitted ideas and planning new calls for the funding of projects before the end of the year. It is also publishing all non-confidential expressions of interest, with the aim of keeping the science and society dialogue open and empowering its community at European level.
Dedicated Service

CORDIS has developed a dedicated service for the expressions of interest, offering the opportunity to search them by the activity areas in the current work programme (ethics, scientific advice, uncertainty and risk, women and science), the topics of the Science and Society Action Plan and the practical actions envisaged. There is also a free text search option, facilitated by a list of science and society key words related to EU research funding.

This database is fully integrated into the broader science and society service on CORDIS (, offering news, examples of ongoing projects and practical information on how to benefit from EU research funding for science and society. The service will publish by the end of this year the new 2004 work programme, taking account of the relevant expressions of interest.

New Funding for Women in Science

On the 9th of September 2003, the European Commission will publish a call for a European Platform of Women Scientists ( The allocated funding is 2 million euro and some of the expressions of interest published today may be of interest for building the required project consortia. They may also feed into the efforts of those, planning to apply for the European Science Education Initiative, which is open for project proposals until 8 October 2003.

Beyond participation in the programme alone, the new service for the expressions of interest represents useful reference and a virtual lab for the day-to-day activities of policy makers, the scientific community, public associations and all science and society stakeholders.

Virginia Mercouri | alfa
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